You may have noticed – posted somewhere in your doctor’s office or in the hallway at your local hospital or clinic – a poster about being your own health advocate. Speak Up™ is part of an initiative from The Joint Commission to “urge patients to take a role in preventing health care errors by becoming active, involved and informed participants on the health care team.” Help prevent errors by being aware and active in your health care!
- Speak up! – Take a notebook with you to your appointments. Write down questions and concerns and ask them while you’re there. Ask about all directions and how medications should affect your body.
- Pay attention! – Question the treatments and procedures you are getting. Never assume that doctors are always right. Doctors are human, and humans make errors. If your health care providers don’t double-check, make sure you insist they do!
- Educate, EDUCATE, EDUCATE! – Learn all you can about your illness. Learn about the treatment and medical tests you can expect, and about the worst and best outcomes. Be informed!
- Ask for an advocate – Find someone you can trust and put it in writing. Make it legal.
- Know your medicines – Medication errors are too common. Know the ones you take and your doses. Have it written down and keep a list on you for when there’s emergencies.
- Use a quality health care facility – Know the care that you are receiving is coming from a top-notch facility. After all, you wouldn’t take your car to the kid down the road who got an A in shop, so why would you go to a below par medical facility?
- Participate – Your health care should center around you, so be an active participant.